Actor and politician Khushbu has vehemently defended stalking in films saying that leading men in the films pursues women of their interest not in violent methods, but in ‘nice and positive ways.’ During a recent interview to a Tamil news channel, she rubbished the popular argument that films play a major role in promoting a stalking culture in the society.
“I accept that films show men chasing and stalking women, but when a girl disapproves the advances of the leading man, does he stab her to death? Does he throw acid on her or does he cause physical harm to her in any other way? No. When the girl says no to the hero, he uses only positive and right ways to convince her to accept his love. But he never forces her into anything,” this is the translation of Khushbu’s statement that she made while talking on Puthiya Thalaimurai’s show ‘Agni Paritchai.’
Khushbu’s argument does not hold water. She has clearly failed to see that stalking is, indeed, a form of violence and it is an act of forcing women into making a decision.
A recent study has concluded that stalkers inflict a serious and lasting problem on their victims’ mental health . The study has claimed that women victims of stalking are three times more likely to develop anxiety issues and mental disorder.
The issues of film stars glorifying onscreen stalking has been hotly debated following the murder of Swathi, an Infosys employee, who was hacked to death at a railway station in Chennai by her stalker. Stalking his love interest has been one of the popular traits of the leading men in Tamil films for decades now. Even recently released actor Sivakarthiyan’s film Remo was criticised for being an ode to stalking.
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“I think we have to blame someone for our failures. As a society we are failing, no question about that. But instead of seeing where we fail, we blame films,” she argued,” The easiest thing to do is blame it on cinema.”
Holding just films accountable for the growing menace of stalking is not fair. However, we cannot underplay the contribution of the film industry to the stalking culture that has been claiming lives of innocent young women. Films cutting across the language barriers have glorified stalking by showing the leading men pursue women of their interest despite being rejected repeatedly.
All leading stars have played onscreen romantic roles who were just straight-up stalkers. Earlier, actor Siddharth had slammed the onscreen stalking, saying films were selling “terrible dreams.”
“When a woman stalks a man in our films she’s a vamp. When a man does it, he is a hero. It’s a complicated discussion. But it needs to be heard,” he had tweeted.
“We’ve been selling a terrible dream in our films for long. That any man can get the woman he wants just by wanting her enough. Must change!,” he had added.